Best certifications for boosting your salary
Want a higher salary? Certain certifications can mean the difference between a middling salary and serious dough.
Want to make more money doing the job you already have? Before you try negotiating a pay raise, you might want to think about going back to school. Getting certified in your field can often mean the difference between pulling down a middling salary and making serious dough.
Recently, PayScale provided Monster with the best certifications and the difference in annual pay between the certification haves and have-nots. Actuaries come in at No. 1, seeing an average pay increase of 75% just by getting certified as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. The list boasts a wide range of professions—everything from health care to automotive jobs—with all of the jobs seeing at least a 25% pay increase when holding a certification. Let this list help you decide if it’s worth getting certified in your field.
Want job security? Actuary might be the gig for you. This job consistently makes “best job" lists because of its stability and high compensation. Actuaries work at insurance companies analyzing statistical data to forecast liability for benefits. The highest-paid actuaries are certified as Fellows of the Society of Actuaries. Learn more about how to become an actuary.
- Certification to get: Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA)
- Median pay (holding certification): $150,000
- Median pay (not holding certification): $85,700
- Typical pay increase: 75%
2. Quality assurance/control inspectors
Quality assurance/control inspectors examine, test, and measure products and materials for defects to ensure they meet production standards. While this is a fairly easy field to enter (a high school diploma or equivalent is typically all that’s required), if you feel like your salary has plateaued, then you might want to look into welding and gain certification as a welding inspector for a significant pay increase.
- Certification to get: Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
- Median pay (holding certification): $81,400
- Median pay (not holding certification): $58,000
- Typical pay increase: 39%
Nurse midwives diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process and sometimes may provide standard gynecological care. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, getting certified as a midwife can not only boost your job prospects, but also get you a higher salary.
- Certification to get: Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Median pay (holding certification): $82,000
- Median pay (not holding certification): $60,400
- Typical pay increase: 36%
4. Health and safety coordinator
Construction can certainly be a dangerous job to work, but that’s where a health and safety coordinator comes into play. Job duties typically include collecting data and analyzing work environments and work procedures, inspecting workplaces for adherence to regulations of safety, health, and the environment.
- Certification to get: Certified Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
- Median pay (holding certification): $64,600
- Median pay (not holding certification): $47,900
- Typical pay increase: 35%
5. Logistics coordinator
Logistics coordinators analyze and coordinate supply chains (the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer) by managing the entire life cycle of a product from how it’s acquired, allocated, and, ultimately, delivered. Getting certified to manage the transportation of hazardous goods overseas without polluting waters can get you a higher-paying salary.
- Certification to get: International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG)
- Median pay (holding certification): $56,500
- Median pay (not holding certification): $42,000
- Typical pay increase: 35%
6. Shop foreman
In managing an automotive mechanic shop, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the different types of vehicles you’re working on. While your many years of experience surely helped you grow your career from apprentice, to automotive technician, to shop foreman, if you really want to put your earnings into high gear, then you’ll want to obtain a Master Automotive Technician Certification, which should drive your salary up by about 34%.
- Certification to get: Master Automotive Technician Certification
- Median pay (holding certification): $70,000
- Median pay (not holding certification): $52,000
- Typical pay increase: 34%
7. Optical manager (eye care)
Optical managers design, measure, fit, and adapt lenses for clients according to written optical prescriptions or specifications. With many people preferring contact lenses over eyeglasses, it would be to your advantage to get certified as a National Contact Lens Examiner.
- Certification to get: National Contact Lens Examiner (NCLE)
- Median pay (holding certification): $53,300
- Median pay (not holding certification): $40,700
- Typical pay increase: 31%
8. School psychologist
Psychologists study the cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior of students by observing, interpreting, and recording how they related to one another and to their environments. Psychologists hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with many also holding doctoral degrees, but to receive a 31% pay bump, you’ll want to get additional credentials.
- Certification to get: Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential
- Median pay (holding certification): $79,700
- Median pay (not holding certification): $60,700
- Typical pay increase: 31%
9. Fleet manager
In a logistics or transportation company, fleet manager are responsible for selecting and maintaining vehicles in order to keep deliveries and distributes on schedule and within budget. While there are several different certifications you can obtain, the CAFM certification should command the highest salary.
- Certification to get: Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM)
- Median pay (holding certification): $70,600
- Median pay (not holding certification): $55,700
- Typical pay increase: 27%
10. Laboratory supervisor
Want to know the best—well, second best—part about getting certified as a laboratory supervisor? Other than seeing a 25% increase to your paycheck, the next best thing about getting certified as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist is that you’ll be permitted to work in all specialty areas of a clinical laboratory. Whether you want to focus on microbiology, immunohematology, histocompatibility, or any other specialty/subspecialty, this license will give you the freedom to explore different areas and find your niche in the scientific community.
- Certification to get: Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS)
- Median pay (holding certification): $81,100
- Median pay (not holding certification): $65,000
- Typical pay increase: 25%
Boost your value
Once you receive certification in these or any other fields, it's important to properly add it to your resume, along with the additional skills and qualifications you gained. Could you use some help? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Being committed to your professional development is always attractive to employers, so be sure your resume demonstrates just how dedicated you are to your future.
Source: All salary data and pay comparisons provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with five to eight of experience, and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.